Favourite Books I Read in 2018

My reading experience in 2018 was overall dominated by the ‘EU still 28’ project, which consisted in reading one book by an author from each of the still 28 EU member states. I have completed that challenge and, so far, have also managed to read in their entirety ten other books. I’m still reading Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson. But it wouldn’t be one of my favourite books this year even if I had finished it already, although I’m enjoying it. Thus, I’m ready to reveal which books stood out to me the most in 2018.

Despite not having rated any of the books that I picked up this year with 5 stars, I still read truly good ones. They just weren’t perfect in my eyes. I cannot lie, though, this was not the best reading year in terms of the enjoyment I got from the books that I chose. I gave three books 2 stars and didn’t finish other two.

I’ve rated many books with 4 stars, though. From those I’ve selected the five I liked the most and that were really close to deserve the coveted 5 stars. In reverse order, my favourite books from the ones that I read in 2018 are: Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – September 2018

I definitely won’t miss September, seeing that it personally was a horrendous month. As a result, I didn’t read much, having only finished two (not too big) books. I resorted to Netflix to pass the time instead and ended up watching more TV shows than usual.

My favourite book was A Amiga Genial (My Brilliant Friend) by Elena Ferrante. Elena Greco recounts her friendship with Raffaella Cerullo, who she has always called Lila. It is set in Naples and we are introduced to the harshness of the life there when they were young. I became so immersed in the characters’ lives that it felt that I was getting to know them intimately with each shared memory. It also features noteworthy reflections on class, social mobility and the importance of education.

Of the three TV series that I’ve watched in full last month, my favourite was La Casa de Papel (entitled Money Heist in English). It is a Spanish crime drama that was divided into two parts for Netflix. In total there are 22 episodes. A man, named the Professor, recruits eight people with apparently nothing to lose to carry out the biggest heist in history. Their aim is to enter the Royal Mint of Spain and print a huge amount of money for themselves. There is a huge focus on the characters. Throughout the episodes, we get to know more about their pasts and what they did during the planning of the heist. I hugely recommend this series, which both made me laugh and cry. Some of the scenes became even more hilarious because of the music chosen to accompany them. It also made me want to properly learn Spanish. I understand quite a lot of it, seeing that it is similar to Portuguese, but I can’t write it or accurately speak it. Continue reading

‘A Amiga Genial’ (‘My Brilliant Friend’) by Elena Ferrante

My rating: 4 stars

Highly well-regarded books tend to leave me nervous with anticipation and apprehensive about not liking them as much as almost everyone else does. I needn’t have worried about A Amiga Genial (My Brilliant Friend in the English translation) by the pseudonymous Italian author Elena Ferrante, though. It tells the story of the friendship between two young women since childhood, while making critical considerations on class, social mobility and the importance of education. The sequence of episodes from their life is for the most part engaging and immersive. It felt like watching the events unfold.

The narration is gripping from the outset. The prologue immediately made me want to know more about what happened in the characters’ lives up to that moment. Rino phoned the narrator, Elena Greco, asking if she knew about his mother, Raffaella Cerullo, whereabouts. They have been friends for around 60 years. Raffaella, who the narrator has always called Lila, took everything that was hers from the house and even removed herself from the pictures. She wanted to erase herself from history. Displeased, the narrator has resolved to write down their story.

Their friendship started when they were children, at the specific time when they decided to go near Don Achille’s apartment. The narrator remembers the significant moment when Lila stopped, waited for her and held her hand. But Lila had always impressed and inspired her. Despite misbehaving more than the boys at school, she was the brightest child there, having taught herself how to read. Elena felt that she had to remain close to Lila, so that in a way she wouldn’t become a threat. Her parents wanted her to be one of the best in class, if she wanted to continue studying and not to have to leave school to help them. Continue reading

Book Haul – March 2018

I bought a total of ten books in March. As I didn’t buy them all at once, it was only when I decided to write this post that I realised how many they were. I can’t truly remember the last time I bought so many books in just a month. The majority of them I’m going to read for my ‘EU still 28’ project, while others were at a discount and I don’t seem to be able to resist a bargain.

To know a little bit more about each of my choices, carry on reading!

 

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

I love the covers of the books by Daphne du Maurier from the Virago Modern Classics collection. Since I’m slightly afraid that they may vanish from the market before I have them all, once in a while, I buy one of them even if I don’t plan to read it soon. Jamaica Inn was recommended to me numerous times. It focuses on Mary Yellan, who, after the death of her mother, goes to her aunt Patience’s home. Continue reading